Life’s a beach.

Destin, December 1970

By the time you are reading this, if I didn’t make a mistake in scheduling this post and if you are the hot off the press, read as soon as it’s published sort of reader, I’ll be about halfway to the beach.

If you’re from here (meaning Memphis), then you know exactly, give or take 20 miles, where I am heading (and yes, driving through Birmingham, not Jackson; much quicker). Also, yes, that’s really what the whole western tip of the panhandle used to look like, just miles and miles of beach, once upon a time.

It is possible that you’ll hear from me again in the next week, though equally possible that I’ll decide to stay offline. Minute by minute, wave by wave, sunset by sunset; find our frolic, while my children still want to go to the beach with their mother. That’s my plan, because frolic is short-lived, and after a certain age one can need a bit of help rekindling it.

(thank you, K; I love this):

On Turning 10

The whole idea of it makes me feel
like I’m coming down with something,
something worse than any stomach ache
or the headaches I get from reading in bad light–
a kind of measles of the spirit,
a mumps of the psyche,
a disfiguring chicken pox of the soul.

You tell me it is too early to be looking back,
but that is because you have forgotten
the perfect simplicity of being one
and the beautiful complexity introduced by two.
But I can lie on my bed and remember every digit.
At four I was an Arabian wizard.
I could make myself invisible
by drinking a glass of milk a certain way.
At seven I was a soldier, at nine a prince.

But now I am mostly at the window
watching the late afternoon light.
Back then it never fell so solemnly
against the side of my tree house,
and my bicycle never leaned against the garage
as it does today,
all the dark blue speed drained out of it.

This is the beginning of sadness, I say to myself,
as I walk through the universe in my sneakers.
It is time to say good-bye to my imaginary friends,
time to turn the first big number.

It seems only yesterday I used to believe
there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I could shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life,
I skin my knees. I bleed.


  1. Lillian

    We got back from Gulf Shores just before the holiday crowds. No interstate for us except short bit of 10. I carried loads of books and crossword puzzles. They returned mostly unopened . Something about sitting on the balcony with a glass of wine just listening to the surf and the shrieks of children seeing the ocean for the first time! And being stuffed with seafood,too. Lillian


  2. John

    I’m at Harbor Island, SC RIGHT NOW… Sitting on the deck with my second cup of coffee… Just looking at the water & relaxing with my beautiful who just finished up her first week of retirement… Life is good!


    1. John

      Oops,I meant to say my beautiful wife…


  3. What a darling photo. Hope you have an absolutely wonderful time.


  4. LOVE this poem. And having read the posts backwards in order, glad you had such a wonderful time.


  5. […] decided to do while on sabbatical. By this point, this specific hour, I had already written about the trip to the beach, about my history with Destin. I’d started a couple of other pieces, too, though only so far […]


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